Farm News, July 9, 2019

What a difference two weeks of hot temperatures can make.  We’ve seen some big leaps in crop growth, with the summer squash and cucumbers leading the way.  They have been trickling in over the last few weeks but really started pumping out fruit last week.  We’ve put them on sale this week, and made some sizeable donations to area food banks, who are always excited to get fresh, local, organic produce. 

Liv packs the cucumbers (often).

Our earliest corn variety, a diminutive but delicious variety called Trinity, is sizing up and we hope to pick it by week’s end.  And the tomatoes are getting serious about ripening up, with lots of red fruit hanging from plants that are now 8 feet tall.   Potatoes are doing well, and we are going to begin digging them earlier this year.   But a walk by the garlic patch (all 17,000 bulbs!) showed them just about ready to pull, so we’ll need to concentrate on that this week.

It’s time to mulch the peppers and melons!

While thunderstorms popped up on the radar all around us this weekend, somehow the farm received only a few drops of rain.  With the cold, rainy spring now a receding memory, we’ve been irrigating pretty much around the clock.   We have three wells that produce very clean water and we are lucky to have received a grant from the USDA many years ago to install an underground pipeline which delivers water to 6 hydrants spaced all over the farm. 

Mady sets up a drip header for … drum roll please … pumpkins!

From there we run water through lines of sprinklers that we set up in the field, or efficient drip lines which put the water right at the plant’s roots during the hottest part of the day.  For big blocks of crops like the corn and potatoes, we’ve got a traveling “gun” that can irrigate an acre of crops overnight, so when the storm clouds don’t deliver, we can make it rain where needed. We keep a chart of watering needs on the board to keep it all straight, and this is keeping us on our toes!

We hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest,

Paul and Rebecca, for Lauren and the Fort Hill Farm Crew

Featured this week:

Purplette onions:  first onions of the season, very pretty, so tasty, and pulled fresh. Remember: good things come in small packages. Tear off tops and store in fridge crisper for up to a month. 

Cucumbers: The harvest from our first planting of cukes went from 0 – 60 in a week and is now peaking. How ironic that we farmers pine for the fresh scent, crispiness, and unique taste of cucumbers during the long winter months, only to be vexed by the boom that only a cuke or (zuch) could produce. Keep in a cold, humid place—a loose plastic bag inside your fridge crisper should do.  Eat within one week as these are not coated in yucky wax.

Also available:

salad mix, arugula, fresh garlic, pea shoots, microgreens, head lettuce, curly green and lacinato kale, rainbow chard, fresh herbs, fennel, scallions, salad turnips, baby bok choy, French Breakfast and red radishes, Chinese Cabbage, fresh garlic, garlic scapes, summer squash, carrots and rainbow carrots, red beets, cucumbers, zucchini, zephyr, and yellow summer squash, frozen baby ginger, cherry tomatoes, and heirloom and beefsteak tomatoes

Coming Soon:

Sweet Corn! Red Gold potatoes

Pick Your Own:

Fresh herbs: parsley, cilantro, thyme, sage, oregano, marjoram, chives, dill

*** Just like last year, CSA members may take a small (mixed or not) PYO herb bunch for free, one bunch per share per week! Please see sample sizes in the barn.

PYO begins 30 before and goes 30 minutes beyond barn hours.

Recipes, suggested by Rebecca Batchie. For more recipes, check out the Fort Hill Farm Recipe Database

Thai Cucumber Salad with Peanuts

By Jennifer Segal


1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced

2 large English cucumbers (or 4 average slicing cukes), halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced crosswise 1/4-inch thick

1/3 cup packed chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup salted peanuts

1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced (or use 1-2 Thai chiles for more heat)

1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)


1/4 cup fresh lime juice, from 2-3 limes

2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

1-1/2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons sugar

1 garlic clove, minced


Place the onions in a small bowl of cold water. Let sit for ten minutes, then drain well and pat dry with a paper towel.

In a large bowl, combine the drained red onions, cucumbers, cilantro, peanuts and jalapeño pepper. Set aside.

Make the dressing: combine the lime juice, oil, fish sauce, sugar and garlic in a small bowl and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Taste and add salt if necessary. Serve the salad within 30 minutes. Serves 4.

Warm Lentils with Wilted Chard, Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese

From feastingathome

3–4 beets ( enough for 2 people)

2 cups cooked lentils

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ a red onion- diced

3 garlic cloves- rough chopped

4 cups (packed) swiss chard or rainbow chard- chopped (you could also sub with beet greens!)

salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

¼ cup goat cheese crumbles

fresh basil, thyme, or Italian parsley- all optional, tastes fine without.


Preheat oven to 425 F. Scrub and trim beets and cut into ½ inch slices or wedges. Place on a foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and roast until tender, about 25- 30 minutes.

If cooking lentils, place ¾ cup dried lentils in a small pot and cover with 3 inches of water and a pinch salt. Bring to a boil, cover and turn heat down to a simmer, cook about 25-30 minutes or until tender but still hold their shape. Drain.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium high heat. Add diced onion and saute 3-4 minutes. Turn heat  down to medium, add garlic and cook 2 more minutes, until golden and fragrant.

Lower heat to medium low. Add chard and gently wilt, just slightly, about 2-3 more minutes.

Add 2 cups cooked lentils to the skillet, gently folding them in and warming. Season well with salt and pepper.

Add beets and splash with 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar.  Let vinegar cook down for just a couple minutes. Taste, and adjust salt. If it tastes bland at this point, it probably needs salt.  Sprinkle with goat cheese and optional spring herbs. Serve immediately.

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